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Blunderbusted

Two Maryland Men indicted in Arizona for illegal machine guns

A .30 caliber belt-fed machine gun seized in Arizona, prompting the Maryland raids.

By Van Smith | Posted 8/5/2010

First thing in the morning on Aug. 21, 2008, agents from the Phoenix, Ariz., office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives came to Maryland and raided homes and businesses in Annapolis, Pasadena, Glen Burnie, Bowie, and Silver Spring. As a result, court records show, they carted off more than 100 machine guns and numerous other firearms (including an Israeli rocket launcher), along with boxes of machine-gun parts; lathes, drills, and other machine tools; pallets of documents; cell phones; computers; and about $40,000 in cash.

Now it’s nearly two years later, and the Maryland targets of the Arizona-based investigation—federal firearms licensees Hal Paul Goldstein, proprietor of an Annapolis gun shop called the Armory, and Randolph Benjamin Rodman, who owns R&S Arms, which operates out of his Silver Spring business, the Auto Shoppe—have been named as defendants in a 107-count indictment filed in federal court in Phoenix on July 27. Their co-defendants are four Arizona residents who also hold firearms licenses: George Dibril Clark III, Lorren Marc Kalish, James Patrick Arnberger, and Idan C. Greenberg. All six are charged in a firearms conspiracy that alleges they committed fraud in order to possess and transfer machine guns in violation of the National Firearms Act.

The alleged conspiracy dates back to at least 1993, and its goal, the indictment states, was “to defraud the United States of and concerning its government functions and rights, that is: the regulation of machine guns.” The defendants accomplished this by “harvesting” serial numbers from older machine guns, which would be destroyed, and then welding those serial numbers onto larger, more expensive machine guns that they had manufactured. By so doing, they allegedly evaded the 1986 federal machine gun ban, which prohibited civilians from possessing or transferring machine guns manufactured before May 19, 1986. The indictment says this pattern of conduct involved 34 machine guns, allowing the defendants “to profit from the possession, transfer, and sale of machine guns that the defendants and others were otherwise prohibited to manufacture, possess, transfer, and sell.”

Attempts to reach Rodman’s attorney, Robert Sanders of North Carolina, were unsuccessful. Joseph Conte, who represents Goldstein, characterized the case as “a very unique indictment,” because federal authorities “approved every one of the transfers” of machine guns when they happened, but now are saying the transfers were illegal.

This is not the first time guns have gotten Goldstein and Rodman in trouble. Back in 1995, both men, along with four other people, were indicted on state charges of reckless endangerment after they participated in a Bowie shooting exhibition that featured machine guns and other firearms being discharged in a wooded area. The neighbors went “ballistic,” according to press coverage at the time, quoting Audrey Scott, then a Prince George's County Councilwoman. Prosecutors later dropped the charges.

Machine Gun Raid Affidavits and Returns Goldstein Rodman Indictment

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